Science Over the Edge

A Mix of News, Events, History and Gossip

Applet credit: Ed Hobbs

May 1999

In the News:

Asteroid Warning - Scientists working in Italy and New Mexico, USA, have discovered a new asteroid that may threaten Earth with a collision in August of the year 2039. The space rock, designated 1999 AN10, is a half mile wide and is now considered the most dangerous asteroid known, though the chances it will actually hit Earth may only be one in a billion. It is large enough, however, to devastate large areas of Earth's surface and change the climate if it does hit. The object's discovery was made by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research Project. Scientists hope to get another glimpse of the rock in June 1999 so the further observations can be made about its movements. This may pin down the exact extent of the threat.

Want to hear about the search for an object that did hit Earth? Click here!

Dinosaurs: Fast, Cold and Not Birds? - Research published in Science by Nicholas Geist and John Ruben of Oregon State University suggests that dinosaurs could be very active, but probably not cold-blooded. The scientists used ultraviolet light to examine the internal organs of an extraordinarily preserved baby therapod dinosaur fossil. Normally internal organs are not preserved in the fossil record, but this examination showed that dinosaurs seemed to have a specialized lung structure that could put large amounts of oxygen into bloodstream so they could suddenly move fast. The layout of the lungs was unlike that of modern birds suggesting that some dinosaurs did not develop into birds as some scientist have suggested.

Want to read more about the cold-blooded/hot blooded dinosaur controversy? Click here!

Alien Abductions and Sleep Paralysis - A new study of sleep habits, published in the medical journal Neurology, indicates that some six percent of all people have experienced at least an episode of "sleep paralysis" and one percent of the population have it occur at least once a week. Sleep paralysis is the state of being awake, but being unable to speak or move. It usually occurs just as a person is waking up and can last from a few seconds to several minutes. Most people who experience it find it frightening. Others report nightmarish hallucinations. The study indicates that these episodes are usually not linked to any kind of neurological disease. Sleep paralysis occurs because during dreaming-sleep the body keeps itself safe by temporarily paralyzing itself so dreams are not acted out. People experience sleep paralysis when they awaken before the paralysis is turned off.

Some have suggested that episodes of sleep paralysis may explain reports abductions by aliens experienced by some people.

Anti-Matter Shortage - Scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have demonstrated a new form of "CP violation" that may help explain why the universe is mostly made of matter instead of equal amounts of matter and anti-matter as logic might suggest (See "Missing Anti-matter") Normally matter and anti-matter particles behave the same except for swapped electrical charges. A "CP violation" is a case were they do not. Some researchers think this favoritism to normal matter also may explain the forward motion of time.

In History:

Lake Monster - One of the first reports about "Champ," the creature that supposedly lives in Lake Champlain, occurred early one morning in May 1887 when a farm boy heard strange noises and went down to edge of the water to investigate. About a mile out from shore he saw a big serpent that was "making noises like a steamboat." Later that same summer the creature was also seen by a group of picnickers near Charlotte, Vermont.

For more about lake monsters, click here!

In the Sky:

Red Planet Encounter - Head out tonight and look up in the sky to the SouthEast a quarter way from the horizon to directly overhead. You should see a bright reddish dot which is the planet Mars. On May 1 Mars will be closer to Earth (54 million miles) than it will be again until May 2001.


Mother's Day Gifts? - Want something weird? How about a glow-in-the-dark alien key chain? Or how about something disgusting? Like glow-in-the-dark alien mucus? Both of these products can be purchased at Please don't tell them we sent you...

To Read:

UFOs, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Believe - Richard Belzer, comedian, actor (currently appearing on TV in Homicide) and conspiracy researcher takes a look at some well-known, but far out theories, and advances his own ideas. The book is being released by Ballantine Publishing Group this month. To take a look at the UFOs, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Believe site, just click.

On the Tube:

Mummified! - Discover Channel takes a look at mummies. Episodes are: Animal Mummies: Creatures of the Gods airs May 5 at 8 and 11 p.m., and May 9 at 5 p.m. Mummies: The Real Story airs May 5 at 9 p.m. and midnight, and May 9 at 6 p.m. Egypt Uncovered: Mummies &endash; Into the After Life airs May 5 at 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., and May 9 at 7 p.m. ET/PT

Hoax Week- The History Channel takes a look at famouse hoaxes.: Episodes are: Hitler's Secret Diaries (Monday, May 10 at 8 pm ET/ 9 pm PT) A Deadly Deception (Tuesday, May 11 at 8 pm ET/ 9 pm PT) The Cardiff Giant (Wednesday, May 12 at 8 pm ET/ 9 pm PT) Howard Hughes Hoax (Thursday, May 13 at 8 pm ET/ 9 pm PT) Hoax of the Ages: Piltdown Man (Friday, May 14 at 8 pm ET/ 9 pm PT)

The Gold Of El Dorado - Somewhere deep within the South American rain forest lies a treasure city greater than any the world has ever known. It is called El Dorado. Airs on The History Channel: Tuesday, May 18 at 8 pm ET/ 9 pm PT.

The Secrets Of World War II: Hitler's Last Hope: The V2 Rocket - Hitler's ultimate secret weapon, stopped by the Royal Air Force. Airs on The History Channel May 31 at 11 pm ET/ 12 am PT.:

WWII: Germany's Secret Gambles - Looks at its spies, codebreakers, secret weapons and their role in shaping the unseen turning points of war. Airs on The History Channel on Sundays, May 16 and 30 at 9 pm ET/ 10 pm PT and repeats:Saturdays, May 22 and June 5 at 5 pm ET/ 2 pm PT


Science over the Edge Archives

Copyright Lee Krystek 1999. All Rights Reserved.